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  • Album Reviews |


    fragile relayer close to the edge the yes album going for the one

    Time And A Word 7 ( 1970 )
    No Opportunity Necessary / Then / Everydays / Sweet Dreams / The Prophet / Clear Days / Astral Traveller / Time And A Word

    Early Yes have yet to get into anything approaching concept albums yet, Rick Wakeman and Steve Howe have both yet to join, so the focus ( for me at least ) is largely on Jon Anderson and Chris Squire, and neither disappoints, even if the album occasionally does. As for the guitarist here, a Mr Peter Banks provides the six string sounds, and does perfectly well, even if the string arrangements and the two hundred miles an hour bass sometimes obscure him. The keyboards don't do anything terribly interesting, although they are certainly present and heard. Bill Bruford is solid on the drums, and that's your line-up card filled for now. The keyboards do something through the introduction for the opening song, by the way. Very church organ, a sound that would reappear in future Yes music from time to time. Mr Squire is everywhere on bass, the keyboards pipe through trying to keep up with him, and Jon Anderson provides the melody with his vocals. Good track. 'Then' is a solo Jon Anderson composition, no prog here, just a straight pop/rock song, coated in strings, but then the bass gets going, the funny blasts of rhythm and guitar, a keyboard solo. Yes were still in the process of falling into place, still searching for themselves, still finding their feet. 'Then' is entertaining, the strings are semi-movie score strings in places, the keyboards are utterly hilarious and over the top. The drums are good! Stephen Stills of Crosby Stills And Nash and Buffalo Springfield sees his 'Everydays' turned from a three minute little ditty into a six minute piece of Yes music. Pretty unique this in Yes-land, though. I've never heard them sound so relaxed in a Jazz sense before, and this Yes version of the Stephen Stills song, with added strings, manages to be far more Jazz sounding than the Buffalo Springfield original. Jon Anderson sounds like a girl, he sounds nice!

    'Sweet Dreams' even though it's only four minutes long, is the single most recognizable piece of 'classic' Yes music here. Who cares who is in the band, anyway? Jon Anderson is here! The bass is here, the guitar is kind-of here, although not prominent. It doesn't matter, this is just a fine, ultra-melodic song with great vocals, harmonies. Lots of good stuff. 'The Prophet' is a six minute long mess, 'Clear Days' just Jon Anderson and strings, and to be honest, he misses the group. This song isn't Yes, it's Jon Anderson solo. 'Astral Traveller' has some cool musical parts, although the mixing and production effect on the vocals is annoying. Basically, the vocals sound like they are coming at you not so much from Space, but from a long-wave radio transmission from 300 miles away. The title song is pretty nice and relaxed, although nothing astonishing. 'Time And A Word' isn't astonishing either. 'Sweet Dreams' is here though, and that'd make any 'best of yes' CD i'd compile. You can hear lots of future Yes elements on this album, although rarely employed together in the same song, in a 'correct' Yes fashion.

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    Erik Canada
    This is a killer album! it's definitely not as progressive as their later works, but still is a psychedelic drive and one hell of a ride. Astral Traveller and Sweet Dreams are nice high energy licks, and it gets real mellow with Everydays and the title track

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    The Yes Album 9 ( 1971, UK pos 7 )
    Yours Is No Disgrace / The Clap / Starship Trooper / I've Seen All You Good People / A Venture / Perpetual Change

    Enter Mr Steve Howe, and the 'holy' trinity of Jon Anderson, Steve Howe and Chris Squire are together for the first time. Drummers would subsequently change, keyboard players would subsequently change. Both Jon Anderson and Steve Howe would leave Yes in years hence, but that's not really relevant to this particular review. One change in line-up, makes this? How so? I don't know. It wasn't like the previous guitarist was rubbish or anything, he was perfectly good as far as I can tell listening to 'Time And A Word', for example. Maybe Steve Howe just 'fitted' better? Anyway, this album opens with 'Yours Is No Disgrace' and it becomes immediately apparent that everything has changed. Well, no. We still have Jon Anderson vocals and lyrics. We still have those distinctive Chris Squire bass lines. We also have a genuinely fantastic song, nearly ten minutes long this 'Yours Is No Disgrace', by the way. I just love the pants off it. The guitar riffing, the bass - meaty and bouncy, fast and impressive. The sheer energy and melody of the entire piece. The tightness of the playing, and yeah, the showing off. Lots of stupendous guitar parts, both bass and lead. The drums and keyboards play their part perfectly, the song is joyous and exhilarating Prog/Rock guitar art..... whatever. Difficult thing to describe very well. Just listen to it, OK? Right, with that out of the way, I can talk about 'The Clap'. Yes decided allowing a Stewe Howe solo guitar piece, recorded live, onto this record was a good idea. I must admit, it's good fun listening, it makes me smile - even if at the end of the day it's completely pointless. I did say it was fun though, didn't I? Good. Besides, it fits on the album, because it breaks up two nine minute compositions.

    The second nine minute composition is 'Starship Trooper', and look! It's another fantastic song! Lots of melody, lots of Jon Anderson vocal melodies and the supporting 'cast' do their job admirably. That will insult them all, calling them a supporting cast to Jon Anderson, especially considering the fact that the guitar is great, the drums from Bill Bruford and the bass are both perfectly great! Yes sound together, actually, and must have LIKED their new guitar player, because he's given plenty of freedom within the ensemble playing. 'Ive Seen All You Good People' to my ears if edited down to four minutes or so would have made an absolutely fantastic pop single. I'd have bought it. Pounding drums, vocal harmonies, perfect melodic changes, heavenly vocal melodies. The second half of the song goes all guitar heavy but retaining the main vocal hook. It's all good. 'A Venture' and 'Perpetual Change' are slightly less enjoyable for me personally than the three main highpoints on the album so far. Having said that, 'A Venture' is bouncy bass rhythms, almost a three minute long pop song and clearly following on from the previous Yes album, but for the lack of a string section. And, adding increased Yes confidence and playing cohesion. 'Perpetual Change' is another track bordering on the nine minute mark, another well played song full of melody, if this time descending into a mellow, almost jazzy section in the middle of the song that means this song doesn't quite shine as magically as others here. Still good though. This album is just supremely listenable and hugely enjoyable, and music should always be both of those things, if it can be, whilst always offering up a measure of thought provoking depth!

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    Middle aged wanabee hippy weegie@pookielife.fsnet.co.uk
    any song with the line "battleships confide in me, they tell me where you are" has got my vote. Fine prog rock and no mistake. Fine band, fine album. The Yes revival starts here!

    Mark Evans markphilipevans@hotmail.com
    Don't much care for the last two tracks but I would still give this an eight simply because the rest is so good. 'Yours Is No Disgrace' is a little repetitive but that's only a minor complaint and it is otherwise top notch with great interplay between Squire and Howe. 'Starship Trooper' is even better. The other two shorter tracks are also enjoyable even if they aren't quite as stunning. Howe's solo piece 'The Clap' demonstrates his excellent technique and as you said does a good job breaking up the two epics. Must confess that I used to find 'I've Seen All Good People' a bit annoying but I've either now got some taste or become a zealot as I now think it's a fine pop song. 8/10

    Kevin Courtright kevincourtright@sbcglobal.net
    I like this album more than a lot of people, but probably in large part due to the remarkable drumming of Bill Bruford, my favorite drummer.

    Neil J Eddy steed_and_peel@iprimus.com.au
    One of the great Yes albums - I love everything on it bar "A Venture" which is a weaker composition. Best for me was "Yours Is No Disgrace" - great guitar/bass parts, "Wurm" and "Perpetual Change" (mainly because it set the scene for the great live version on Yessongs... Oh, and "Your Move/All Good People" was a single....

    bassplayeredd eddie123zeppelin@hotmail.com
    probably the first solid Yes album and a great introduction to the band. "Yours i no disgrace" is a great opener with its riffs and fast pace, i especially like the guitar breaks where it pans from speaker to speaker. My only complaint with the opener is maybe it doesn't flow enough. "The clap" is a wonderful solo piece which demonstrates another element to Steve Howe's seemingly limitless guitar ability. I have to disagree with you though, It is an enjoyable song and shows great skill and isn't that what good music is about, so it does add something to the album. "Starship Trooper" is my favourite here i love the way it keeps changing and then builds up at the end to a glorious Howe solo, the chord progression as an almost eerie feel to it, totally different to anything i've heard before. "I've seen all good people" is another great track, i kind of agree it could be edited down but when i listened to it thinking where little bits could be cut off i decided maybe i! t wouldn't work so well as a 4 minute pop song. "A venture" for me is the only weak track, Andersons melodies just don't seem to work here. "perpetual change" i feel is underrated although i always listen o the Yessongs live version which is far superior. All in all pretty great album and a great intoduction to Yes. 9.5/10

    Beresford du-Cille UK
    It is only when you take the time to listen to Yes 's music properly that you can really appreciate them. I have been a fan since I bought The Yes Album on a reviewers recommendation. It destroyed me totally and I was hooked from the first few bars.It made my Hi-Fi sound great but started me on a series of Hi-Fi upgrades so that I could get the most out of their unique sound. I went to see them live several ties and each gig was better than the last. There is always something great to listen to on every album even Drama (sans JA). I doubt you will ever hear better players than Squire, Bruford or Howe. One small criticism is Jon Andersons impenetrable lyrics! I am sure that even he does not always know what they mean but they always SOUND great. If you have never heard them rectify that omission immediately. You will not be sorry.

    Richard Astridge North
    This album more than any other got me into so called "rock". My brother had it, and both he and it converted me! Sheer genius all round. "I've seen all good people" is a superb work, but the whole album bounces along, never gets boring or overdone, and what a fantastic group of musicians. The don't make 'em like this anymore!! I'm getting old!

    Erik CanadaPerpetual Change and A Venture (featuring Tony Kaye's heavily underrated keyboard playing) are awesome songs! This album is a gem the whole way through! Yours is No Disgrace, Starship Trooper, Clap, god damn!

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    Fragile 10 ( 1972, UK pos 7 ) more best albums...
    Roundabout / Cans And Brahms / We Have Heaven / South Side Of The Sky / Five Per Cent For Nothing / Long Distance Runaround / The Fish (Shindleria Praematurus) / Mood For A Day / Heart Of A Sunrise

    An album that marked the beginning of the Yes association with artist Roger Dean who would go on to provide them with some of the most famous album artwork of all time. Chances are if you are a music fan you've seen one of Roger Dean's Yes paintings. Even if you haven't actually heard any music by Yes! And, another first for this album. Rick Wakeman joined the band. His proficiency and classical leanings were the final piece in the jigsaw. Suddenly Yes were sounding absolutely amazing and creating the kind of music they'd always had in their minds. Well, that's what I reckon anyway. What do I know? I just know that, as a relative newcomer to the music of Yes, this album rules. It is rule. The opening 'Roundabout' is eight and a half minutes long. Now, see. This is the kind of thing that makes non prog lovers shudder. The length of the songs. But, sod em. 'Roundabout' is fucking amazing. It rocks, hard. Everything plays a part, the bass, the drums, the twirling keyboards of Rick Wakeman. Jon Anderson sounds wonderful too. Yeah, he does. He does! The 'chorus' of the song, the 'in and around the lake...' section is just....ah! I just feel like stripping naked and rolling around in mud with glee. And then? Then?! Around the three and a half minute mark the whole thing explodes. A heavy bass sound, sinister and superb sounding guitar. Hats off as well to the now legendary Prog drummer Bill Bruford who does such a good job here. You could just cut out the drums and listen to that and you'd still have something worthwhile and exciting. A little atmospheric guitar as the track drops out. The 'in and around the lake....' vocal section is caressed, whispered. The drums and keyboards kick back in. The whole song is an impossible triumph. If you are wondering how to introduce Yes to a friend who doesn't know much about this kind of music (whatever kind of music this actually is... ), then just play them this song. It'll do the trick.

    After that excitement (well, I was excited! ) we have the first of several solo spots by Yes group members here. Rick Wakeman fiddles around with a classical theme, hence the songs title, 'Cans And Brahms'. It sounds so very stupid, SO STUPID, you can't help yourself but smile. Especially coming as it does off the back of the superlative 'Roundabout'. 'We Have Heaven' is a Jon Anderson song-writing showcase. Well, a vocal showcase really. A repeating vocal refrain with beautiful harmonies to back it up as the band slowly wind themselves up behind him. It's a one and a half minute moment of sheer beauty. The second group collaboration arrives with 'South Side Of The Sky' and it hardly disappoints. The bass is groovy as hell, the guitar full of inventive riffing. Again, it's a song that rocks. The piano section in the middle with added vocal harmonies provides the beauty here before we go back to the rocking bass and guitar to close. 'Five Per Cent Of Nothing' is the drummers solo writing contribution. It's half a minute long and that's all i'm going to say about it. It's an interlude to lead into 'Long Distance Runaround'. Another Jon Anderson song, another fine piece of work. A weird rhythm as he starts to sing 'I still remember the dream there' which reminds of The Beatles 'White Album' for some reason.

    'The Fish' is an instrumental showcase for the considerable talents of Yes bass man Chris Squire. The drums back him up, the bass lines are layered on top of one another and it sounds absolutely fantastic. Yeah, it's an instrumental, but it plays a part in the album overall. In a sense, it's just as important to the album as a whole as either 'Roundabout' or 'South Side Of The Sky'. Jon Anderson starts mouthing nonsense vocal refrains in the background. They sound beautiful though and work to end the song as it fades away. A solo spot by Steve Howe follows - an exotic and lovely guitar section. The full band return for 'Heart Of The Sunrise'. A lengthy introduction that builds up with keyboards and bass guitar with Bill Bruford providing solid support underneath. Close to the two minute mark, the guitar starts to prowl over the top of all of this before we enter an impossibly quickly taken section of instrumental music with everyone going full tilt. And, this is still the introduction. Three and a half minutes pass before we hear anything from Jon Anderson! Everything goes mellow to allow for his vocal parts to get going. The song switches several times through it's remaining half but always retains the listeners interest. A brief reprise of the 'We Have Heaven' vocal refrain closes the record. You may well feel exhausted. It's a journey of sorts, this record. It's a fabulous record but only the first Yes would release in 1972. Hey, they were on a roll!

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    Nathan isrpgmaker@hotmail.com
    I love this album, although I can't give it a perfect 10. "Mood For A Day" and "Cans and Brahms," although adding to the diversity of the album. I usually skip over them when playing the album. 9.5/10

    Bill Oberg boberg23@hotmail.com
    Just a quick line to say thanks. I bought my first "YES" album (fragile) last night because of your review. Your enthusiasm and your obvious good taste (Frank Black and Tom Waits in particular) was what did it. Only two listens so far but Wow! I had heard a couple of the tunes over the years on classic radio, but never REALLY listened, dismissing them unfairly. There's a great film, "Buffalo '66" you might check out that uses the last song on the album quite effectively. Anyway, keep on writing those excellent reviews (yours are maybe the best I've ever read and I've read gobs) and keep on rocking in the free world.

    Simon foofighter5@hotmail.co.uk
    I've just started to discover the joys of Yes, and I have to say of everything i've heard, Fragile is far and away the best album, in particular "South Side of the Sky" - I can't stop listening to it!

    Nostromed Nostromed@aol.com
    Great, but I have to agree with the reviewer below. 'Cans and Brahms' is just... broken! If you're gonna do a big, tasteless synth makeover of a classical period piece, at least make sure you can actually play the thing first.

    Tom New Bern, NC
    This was my first Yes album, purchased the winter of 1973. I suppose this belongs with the top three - along with Close To The Edge and The Yes Album. But I'd definitely rate it behind both of those. Heart of the Sunrise gets pretty tedious with that opening riff repeated over and over. And as good as Fragile is in other places, it doesn't have the supercharged positive/joyful energy of The Yes Album - and really, hardly anything out of the 70s from any band matches up well with Close To The Edge.

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    Close To The Edge( 1972, UK pos 4 )
    Close To The Edge / And You And I / Siberian Khatru

    Ten seconds of silence. Forty seconds of atmospheric new age sounds then the jazz rock fusion kicks in. Drums do things, the bass concentrates hard and the guitar twists, spirals and turns. Around the three minute mark a decent melody appears and a little later a funky, almost reggae-fied bass rhythm. This supports the introduction of the opening vocals well. And, there you have the beginning of this 'Close To The Edge' album! It's a thrilling way to open. You can almost see the studied concentration of all involved whilst laying down the parts in the studio. It sounds perfectly natural however. And, makes me think. Yes and progressive rock in general have got a bad press over the years. Around the ten minute mark, the third section 'I Got Up, I Get Down' kicks in. Or, rather more accurately, floats dreamily in. I adore this part! Ethereal, beautiful vocals. What sounds like a church organ adds to the spiritual feel of this piece. 'Close To The Edge' the song, ends by returning to jazz influenced rock music. Superb playing from all involved. Melody too. Decent vocals. All is well!

    'And You And I' begins the second half of the album. A song that starts with nicely strummed guitars and melodic vocals. A quiet, atmospheric song. Keyboards add to its relaxing dream world feel. The vocals sound off in the distance. In a good sense. Nicely atmospheric. The third section, 'The Preacher And The Teacher' shifts the mood. Decent melody. A decent song all round! Not as astonishing perhaps as opener 'Close To The Edge' but it plays its part in the album as a whole extremely well. Under 40 minutes in length this record. It doesn't really do anything unnecessary. Everything here plays a part in adding to an overall cohesive listening experience. The closing 'Siberian Khatru' ups the tempo, funky bass and good guitar work dominate this piece. I love the little medieval keyboard solo in the middle! It rocks out a bit later on. The vocals with added echo and harmonies are surprisingly effective but the guitar and bass work dominate this song. Tight, accomplished, enjoyable listening. Absolutely nothing here on the album is lacking in any obvious way. Fans of Green Day probably won't like it. Nothing against Green Day fans but you know. This is an involved musical experience. It could have done with another song perhaps - a nice atmospheric closing sequence. It's a minor quibble. This is an album that rewards repeated listening, is frequently beautiful - and highly recommended. A wonderful record.

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    Simon Brigham slb23@shaw.ca
    This is a transition album for Yes. Can you imagine going from Fragile to Tales From Topographic Oceans in ONE STEP? I thought not. The title track is their first song that takes up the whole side. Every thing is great ----- from the weird, angular, off-kilter rythmns (spelling?) of the intro, to the angelic voices of "I Get Up, I Get Down", to the MASSIVE church organ, to the echo-ey end part. And the whole thing is as tight as hell!! GOD, can Steve Howe and Bill Bruford play!!!! "And You And I" is one of the most beautiful songs Yes has ever done (Up there with "Wonderous Stories" from Going For The One). A fantastically beautiful acoustic guitar intro. Did I mention Jon Anderson yet? Man, that guy can sing! And what a unique voice! "The Preacher, the Teacher" was released as a single, believe it or not! "Siberian Khatru" ---- what a rippin' riff! Goes on for a tad too long, though. That weird voices in unison thing around the end (before the final guitar solo) bugs me. Rick Wakeman is a great keyboard player. As soon as I listened to this album last summer, I was absorbed. LISTEN TO IT but be careful -- don't travel to Close To The Edge!!! you might fall off! heheheh

    I have often said that Yes is my favorite group. Oddly, I have always preferred Close to the Edge to Fragile, even though Fragile deserves the 10 to this 9.5. Go figure. Thanks for all your reviews, Adrian. I found the site looking for a Dylan review and wondered how Blonde on Blonde got "only" 9.5 Now, I understand. For what its worth, here are my Yes studio favorites, in order: Close to the Edge, Fragile, Tales TO, the Yes Album, Relayer, Drama, Going for the One, 90125, Tormato, Time and a Word

    I'm a fan of Green Day and I love this album, as well as all of Yes's work! haha, just thought I'd let ya know.

    bassplayeredd eddie123zeppelin@hotmail.com
    i'd always avoided yes because without hearing them i'd built a negative view of them. But i listened to this album and was blown away, o.k. maybe the first song doesn't have the potential to be 19 minutes long but the music is amazing. Siberian Khatru is my favourite, i love the blend of prog, jazz, funk with all the great guitar drving heavy bass and rick's keyboard work.

    Paul paul@keyworth-wright.demon.co.uk
    And you and I.......nigh on the best song ever, so good I had to download it to my phone so I could hear it everyday!!

    Dave Ellis Crel74@aol.com
    Probably the best overall Yes album. therea re strong sonfgs on t'other ones but this collection is the strongest. And you and I is a really beautiful and moving song and Siberian Khatru is the best Yes song of all time. Close to the Edge itself is amazing. So farewell then Bill Bruford!

    Bill Billd1027@charter.net
    This album is not as good as The Yes Album. The beginning of Close to the Edge was cool the first time I listened to it, but now I dislike the lack of melody in it. The best part of the Album is 10:30 into the song Close to the Edge. Other than that I don't think the album is at all a 9.5. I would probably give it a 7.5.

    Richard Astridge North
    As far as I can tell, being an Organist myself, the organ used sounds distinctly to be that of St.Gile's, Cripplegate, London. Rick Wakeman used this also in the "six wives".

    Tom New Bern, NC
    Their most creative effort. A lot of beautiful moments and some good grooves as well. Not only unlike anything (that I can think of) other bands had recorded - it was several steps beyond the parameters of their own previous albums. They played with absolute assurance, and a conviction that what they were playing was worth everybody stopping and listening to. By the way , also the all-time best album cover photos of band members.

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    Tales From Topographic Oceans 8 ( 1973, UK pos 1 )
    The Revealing Science Of God / The Remembering / The Ancient / Ritual

    Once upon a time, I had an idea that I could write an epic, multi-section poem titled 'life', or if not titled anything as obvious as 'life', meaning the same thing but more intellectually. Pretentious? Damn, right! Now, I had this idea one evening whilst talking to a girl from Manchester I was seeing at the time. Her eyes were beautiful, I was beautiful - we'd both had a few drinks and I was absolutely convinced ( that one night only ) that I was a genius. The next morning, or the next week - whenever I looked over the idea for the poem once again in the cold harsh light of day - I came back down to earth very quickly. Who was I kidding? But, ambition isn't necessarily something to be laughed at. I lacked any kind of tools, or skills, to pull off such a piece of writing at that time. Idea's way above my station! Which leads neatly into the first stirrings of an idea in Jon Anderson's brain in a Japanese hotel room before a concert one particular evening. He found himself ( as you do ) leafing through Paramhansa Yoganada's 'Autobiography of a Yogi' and got caught up in a particular passage and with a particular idea. This idea was "the four part shastrick scriptures which cover all aspects of religion and social life as well as fields like medicine, music, art and architecture". So, Jon Anderson gets all excited, gets Steve Howe reasonably excited, and some time later, 'Tales From Topographic Oceans' was complete.

    Now, let's say Yes had released a single album instead of a double in the place of 'Tales'. Jon's four part idea would have likely ended up one four part, 40 minute song! But, Jethro Tull for one, had already done 'Thick As A Brick', an album long composition ( in two parts, in their case ) so I suppose that idea was out. They could have forgotten the idea of this four part 'scripture' and made a regular album. But, that would have been seen as a repetition of previous Yes work, hardly a good thing for a group involved in the progressive movement. So, a double album it was. Four movements, one for each side of the original vinyl release, topped off with a fabulous Roger Dean painting. Hmmm, tasty! Rick Wakemen ended up leaving Yes following the tour for 'Tales', not understanding the concept, the music or the composition. He couldn't feel what he was meant to be playing. Bill Bruford ( legendary prog/rock 'sticks' man ) had bailed out prior to 'Tales', and all of this was chinks in the mighty Yes armour. The 'tales' tour by the way used 40 times the amount of equipment Yes had used to tour just 12 months previously. Hot air balloons, the works! I've not even mentioned the actual album itself. Adored or despised by fans, it generates heated debate to this day. Members of Yes come across as almost apologetic in certain interviews. This was the album that partly 'gave birth' to Punk, after all - one of the big things held up by Punk musicians as a reason their work had to exist in the first place. Punk 'needed' to wash away all those pesky bearded Prog fellows and their 'ludicrous' concept albums and music purporting to be some kind of link to the heavens. Well, you get the drift.

    One thing noticeable when listening to 'Tales From Topographic Oceans' is that the band don't sound quite as 'together' as they did on the previous couple of albums. This is easily explainable. Steve Howe and Jon Anderson wrote the lions share of 'Tales'. Rick Wakeman had grave misgivings about the whole project, Chris Squire contributes of course, as did Wakeman, but this was certainly Jon Anderson's project and he'd primarily worked it out with Steve Howe. Yes had a new drummer of course, which is a change in itself. Not that the new drummer wasn't a talented drummer or anything like that, but any change in personnel is going to change the group dynamic, in at least a small way. I just get the feeling Yes weren't quite firing on all cylinders here, that not all the group members were giving 100% to the music or the composition. With such talented musicians as Yes undoubtedly possessed, this wasn't at all fatal, but it does mean there's nothing as tight and thrilling as, say, 'Roundabout' on this collection. Another thing I've noticed is not so much that the songs overstay their welcome but rather they simply don't know 'how' to end. This is particularly noticeable with 'The Ancient' and 'Ritual'. With 'The Ancient', the lyrics are done, it fades out, but then two minutes of jamming come in bearing little relation to what else has gone on with the piece, and then it fades out. No 'ta-da!' kind of ending, just a rather superfluous piece of music 'tacked' onto the end. 'Ritual', after taking us through many remarkable and lovely musical passages simply fades out. It doesn't so much end as stop. Certain passages in each one of the four tracks here seem on the face it, redundant, included for no clear purpose but repeated listening seems to fit them in eventually. Yeah, the songs probably are all too long, yeah, this isn't as tight and concise as previous Yes. But, this is still an occasionally beautiful record.

    Trying to condense eighty plus minutes of this music into a single review is going to be impossible, I've realised, so I'll use these last paragraphs to pick out certain sections, and to go over each one of the four tracks in brief. Initially, the very opening to 'The Revealing Science Of God', some kind of chanting from Jon Anderson sounds horribly prog, and you are immediately inclined to believe every single bad thing said about the entire genre! But, once you've realised 'The Revealing Science Of God' as a whole piece is actually rather good it sounds perfectly natural. Weird keyboard sounds come in, guitar, bass and drums. Yes music! There is a point later in the song where it drifts off slightly, and you could be forgiven for losing your patience or attention to what's going on, but it is worth staying until the end of this twenty minute, twenty seven second song. Really! This is the most 'traditional' sounding Yes song music wise on the entire record. 'The Remembering' onwards, things get a little stranger. 'The Remembering' is my least favourite of all the four pieces here, the one I have most difficulty retaining enjoyment and concentration all the way through. Even this has some truly interesting sequences, though. Great guitar and bass interplay appears around the thirteen minute mark, watch out for it!!  'The Ancient' is very interesting, very modern sounding in a strange sort of way. The sleeve-notes remark that "Steve's guitar is pivotal in sharpening reflection on the beauties and treasures of lost civilisations." Really? So, this isn't 'Wild Thing' by The Troggs then? No matter.

    'The Ancient' even more so than 'The Revealing Science Of God', which although contains more urgent energy and recognisable Yes music doesn't quite manage to be fully cohesive, is the one piece here that is satisfying from beginning to ( almost ) end. Steve's guitar, whether reflecting upon lost civilisations or not, does a whole lot of great things, washes of truly lovely and yes, holy, sounding keyboards come through. Weird jerky bass rhythms. The initial sequence of lyrics isn't so much sung as slowly dripped out. The song changes around the twelve minute mark and goes all medieval folk on us. Beautiful playing, though. Truly beautiful guitar. 'The Ancient' is a triumph, and I'll speak of it no more! 'Ritual' closes the album, more beautiful sequences, lovely harmonic sections. The section to particularly watch out for here is the part that comes in just after the twelve minute mark. Funky bass lines and good drums parts and a kind of semi-shaking, semi-smashing sound all go wild, urgent, fantastic Yes music. Weird percussion and sounds follows this as the guitar and bass drops out. Not quite a drum 'solo' as such, but it may as well be. Just a section of primitive pounding, although wonderfully and impressively executed. Scary horror movie keyboard parts come in, and..... a horrible burst of noise and then Jon Anderson comes back singing over a nice mellow sequence, singing quite beautifully, too. Appropriately, this review isn't so much going to end, as not know how to finish. I'll finish it........ now.

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    Simon Brigham slb23@shaw.ca
    Some people say this is the mother of all prog. rock albums. For it's length, I'd say they are correct. (four side-long songs on a double album). But for quality . . . sometimes I don't know. "The Revealing Science of God" and "The Remembering" are both great songs. You get so involved with those songs, it's like they take you to a higher level (mentally) or something. The first 3/4's of "The Ancient" REALLY bug me. I just can't stand listening to it. So I just skip to the last 1/4 of the song - the "Leaves of Green" part. That's one of my favourite parts of the whole album. "The Ritual" is very beautiful, very pleasant. But the whole tribal drum thing is just too much sometimes. A good climactic ending, though.

    Liam lmjf_98@yahoo.com
    Hey, nice to see Yes and "Tales.." getting some respect from a reviewer:) Took me a while to get into this album, it's a grower if you've got the time and pateince for it. "Close to the Edge" is probably my fave Yes album.

    Mecko (Argentina) mecko@tutopia.com
    Just one album, just one single album and it would be the best Yes album of all times. But not!! They went too far, too ambiscious, too magnificent, too prog cliche. In my opinion: Side one: 1) The revealing science of God (complete) Side two: 1) 2nd. part of The Ancient (last acoustic song included) 2) Ritual (condensed to his half) Rate: 10+ Edited version rate: 7

    John Steiner kida53027@yahoo.com
    You know I seem to be the only one on this damn board who LOVES TFTO as opposed to just liking parts of it. But I think that this album is a test to see just how one is willing to stretch their imagination in order to allow the album to take one through a journey of different moods and experiences. For me, this whole album RULES!!! And that includes that kickass percussion vs. pedal steel guitar assault on The Ancient that everyone seems to despise. Overall, I am happy that Yes made this record because they were brave and intelligent enough to do so. I only wish that sort of thing was encouraged more! LONG LIVE TALES!!!

    John Steiner kida53027@yahoo.com
    P.S.-Adrian, you are THE MAN!!! That last comment was for all the damn naysayers on the board. I am SO happy that you gave TFTO a fair review. George Starostin unfairly bashes this album (he gave it a 5 OUT OF 10 FOR GODS SAKE) and he is an asshole for doing so. At least people like me and you get something out of it. It needs all the justice that it can get. We should chat more about Yes some time if you are interested.

    Erik Canada
    This is an AWESOME album! This is it, the epitomy of music, I have never heard a better album than this, not even Close to the Edge or Relayer (though they are AMAZING albums too)... This is a ride to another dimension, buckle up and enjoy.

    Nostromed Nostromed@aol.com
    You have single-handedly turned 'Yes' from a "guilty pleasure" (shudder) to a genuine passion of mine. Being an overly suggestible shopper who thrives on having four hundred separate reviews in tabs before I buy something, I almost missed this album out. I'm just glad you gave this album the attention it deserves.I'd just like to say to those who haven't heard this album yet - Its probably nothing like you have been led to believe! Yeah, it doesn't all work, but its another frequently brilliant, brave recording by this unique band that I am proud to have in my collection.Cheers mightily!

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    Relayer 10 ( 1974, UK pos 4 ) more best albums...
    The Gates Of Delirium / Sound Chaser / To Be Over

    New keyboard ace Patrick Moraz was concerned. During rehersals he was surrounded by Steve Howe, Alan White and Chris Squire all playing incredibly complicated parts, playing them at astonishing speeds, and in the middle of this, he was meant to add his keyboard parts. Replacing Rick Wakeman's large, not to say FLAMBOYANT keyboardist shoes may very well have sent a shiver of trepidation all through Patrick Moraz, but he did a mighty fine job. Concerning Yes as an entity, following widespread critical flak for the mightily long 'Tales From Topographic Oceans', they just get down to work. There's a sense of proving a point here, all through the album. The album is structured in a similar way to the classic 'Close To The Edge', so that's one nod to the critics, one bow to their fans. Personally, I really LIKED 'Tales From Topographic Oceans', but there you go. It takes all sorts. Speaking of 'all sorts', let's talk about Jon Anderson. His lyrics here are the usual semi spiritual, semi fantasy NONSENSE - but they are also glorious lyrics and his vocal melodies throughout are strong. At the end of 'Sound Chaser' he goes insane, but I'll speak of that later. Ah, let's talk about 'The Gates Of Delirium' instead, it's good! Keyboard lines float dreamily through ultra tight bass and guitar parts that wind themselves up as the song progresses. Jon Anderson provides pop melodies, Steve Howe provides his distinctive and inventive guitar parts and Chris Squire and Alan White form one hell of a rhythm section. Five minutes in, Mr Howe plays an incredible solo. Moving forwards, around the seven minute mark the bass is in your ears and your body is vibrating whilst Patrick Moraz perfectly COMPLIMENTS the other players, rather than personally trying to steal any sort of show. But, what a show. Suddenly the guitar goes everywhere and Jon Anderson shouts, sounds wired. The guitar continues to be astonishing all throughout 'The Gates Of Delirium' and Yes reclaim their place as the greatest band on the planet circa 1974. AH! Check the bit that flows from the EIGHT minute mark! The keyboards go insane, the guitar goes insane - the rhythm section keep up with it all, but what a FUCKING great keyboard part! FUCK Rick Wakeman! Sorry, getting carried away as usual. As usual, a Yes review of mine gets overly excitable! Sorry, i'll stop the exclamation marks right about now.

    Lots of 'Gates Of Delirium' follows my brief description of it above, but rest assured all twenty one minutes of the song are just as great as each other. 'The Gates Of Delirium' is impossibly loud, aggressive and furious in its assault. Impossibly impressive with regards to what each instrumentalist is actually doing. But, lets move on. 'Sound Chaser' is a delicious nine minutes of pure insanity and aggressive guitars, fast playing - with Patrick Moraz laying down almost ELEGANT parts in the middle of the entire thing that seem disconnected from the rest of the song in a way, but in a very good way disconnected. He generally seems to be playing half as many notes as everybody else but his keyboard drives through and is extremely effective and dreamy. Jon Anderson truly attacks 'Sound Chaser', and I won't hear a word said against his performance on either of the first two songs of this album. There's a slow section in the middle of 'Sound Chaser', by the way. This slow section allows the listener to rest before the ASSAULT begins once more. Oh yeah, oh god FUCKING YEAH! Forward to the six and a half minute mark. The bass is groovy as fuck, Patrick Moraz does his thing floating through the two hundred miles an hour playing most effectively as the bass, guitar and drums go faster and faster and faster. We switch.... the keyboards are prominent and full of melody and then? CHA CHA CHA goes Jon Anderson, everyone goes beserk, astonishingly so, and I almost fall out of my chair full of this astonishment. At the time of writing this review, I still can't think of any music anywhere quite as IMPRESSIVE as this 'Sound Chaser', which by the way, is even better than the already bloody brilliant 'Gates Of Delirium'. Sigh.

    Yes have caused me problems by the way, problems I worried about that were only calmed when I heard the likes of their 1994 album 'Talk' and realised they were human after all. Third song here is a nice slow song full of sweet vocals and very strong beautiful melodies throughout. Being struck quite so hard by any band at the age of twenty eight ( god, i'm old! ), being as excited and like a child again, after already having heard SO MUCH music.... yeah, I was concerned. Yes gain another ten then? Oh, yeah. 'To Be Over' is perfect beauty and even in this relaxed mode, Steve Howe and Chris Squire in particular prove themselves to be fantastic musicians, the likes of which are generally pretty damn hard to find. To have the both of them in the same band, both at the top of their game as they pretty much ARE all through this 'Relayer' album is just a sheer thrill. Believe.

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    Robert sbuike@hotmail.com
    Yeah, agree it's a great album indeed, I really do enjoy that album and the like of the era. One small notice of interest - is it me - or do "Gates of Delirium" grap some inspiration from Pink Floyds "A Saucerful Of Secrets". PF previously stated that the four sections of ASOS concerned the stages of war: prelude, the conflict, the aftermath and lamenting the lost. These same four stages seem to appear in "Gates.." and the lyrics clearly seem to suggest war as the topic - well just a thought, no matter what it IS still an exellent album

    Tim Tobish muscla_1@yahoo.com
    Loved your review. I had the same reaction to this album when I first heard it, although I was 14 instead of 28. Having left most Yes way behind, I return to "Relayer" again and again. I think it is the one record of theirs that holds up....Anderson's vocals sound dated on most of the other stuff (much as I love CTTE, it really DOES need to be put out to pasture). Also, I have to mention "To Be Over" which you left out of your review. Probably the best slow song Yes ever did, and Steve Howe's best guitar solo as well. Fuck Rick Wakeman, I agree.

    porcupine cupidandpsyche85@hotmail.com
    Very pleased to see such a celebratory review of this wonderful album. Sometimes I just can't believe the ambition, scope and majesty of this LP. Not many bands try to be this HUGE, but when they do, not many succeed as well as Yes. 'The Gates of Delirium' is overblown but goshdarnit, it is a true masterpiece. Funky, rocking, sensational....and the 'Soon' bit just overwhelms me. I'm pretty convinced the last minute of this song, right to that impossibly eerie, beautiful fade out, is the best closing minute to any song ever. That's rubbish of course, but it's incredibly powerful. 'Sound Chaser' is crazy, love it! 'To Be Over' is very beautiful, very lovely. Relayer is, along with Close to the Edge, the best Yes album of them all!

    bassplayeredd eddie123zeppelin@hotmail.com
    I decided to not comment on the album until i'd really got to grips with it. Once i did get to grips with it i must have listened to the album 20 times in 2 weeks. For me "The gates of delirium" is like no other classic epic. Usually it takes lots of listens or just one before i really appreciate a song like this. For some reason though it took just 2 listens before it sunk in just what a masterpiece the song and album are. The title track is truly astonishing, the triuphant return to the main riff about 12 mins in is great and the "soon" section is one of the most beautiful pieces of music i've heard. "Sound Chaser" really shows off the bands talents especially the rhythm section's. I really love the keyboard solo for the final few mins, he gets a real 80s synth sound...but in 1974. Oh yeh Moraz, forgot about him. On a par with Wakeman for talent and imagination and amazingly gets to grips with the bands music straight away. "To be over" is a very nice pi! ece with some really nice guitar work but probably my least favouite song here. Like "Fragile" and "CTTE" i think this deserves a 10. I still can't deicide which of the 3 albums is my favourite though.

    John Steiner kida53027@yahoo.com
    Once again, someone who shows as much infinite respect for Yes as I do. I love how enthusiastic your review is about Relayer. I had the same adrenaline rush when I listened to Sound Chaser the first time! The breakdown midway through has got to be not just Steve Howe's best guitar solo but THE BEST GUITAR SOLO EVER!!! I could go on writing a novel about how brilliant The Gates of Delirium is but special mention must be made for To Be Over which is a very chilled out Yes song if I ever heard one. Anyhow, Relayer is the shit and I don't wanna hear anybody talking down about it or I will eat you alive. And yes, I think Patrick Moraz proved to be a more effective keyboardist than Wakeman. Probably why this is my favorite Yes record. Then again, Wakeman is unique in his own way. 10/10? Hell yeah!

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    Going For The One( 1977, UK pos 1 )
    Going For The One / Turn Of The Century / Parallels / Wonderous Stories / Awaken

    It shouldn't be under-estimated just how loving and loyal the Yes fan-base actually were. Yes took time out to do other stuff, solo albums, etc. And, those Solo albums are stories in themselves! Even Patrick Moraz found himself within the UK top thirty with his 'I Patrick Moraz' album. Drummer Alan White released a solo album in 1975 that reached number 41 on the UK charts, and he'd only been in Yes a few years. Beggars belief, really. Chris Squire and Steve Howe both released solo albums, both helped out by Patrick Moraz and both enjoyed top thirty UK album chart placings! Jon Anderson, the man, went top ten with his solo effort and also broke the US top fifty. Er, departed keyboardist Rick Wakeman? His 'Journey To The Centre Of The Earth', released in May 1974, topped the UK album charts. That was the same month this reviewer was born, and quite frankly i'm horrified! Rick went on to have a further two top ten charting albums, before re-joining Yes to replace Patrick Moraz, in time for this comeback Yes album, in the wake of punk rock. And, you know what? Yes do pretty damn well. The opening title song is one of the best things they ever did - oblivious to all musical fashions around them, just doing their stuff. Well, the song opens with a little Rock N Roll guitar, and the album as a whole has five songs as opposed to the 'usual' Yes three songs. Maybe that was some nod towards punk? Ha! The title song is pure Yes, one of the better Yes songs, suffice to say. Astonishing Steve Howe guitar and Jon Anderson in absolute top form. They'd been away? I didn't notice!

    Oh, gee. Love and adore the guitar on the ballad 'Turn Of The Century'. Love Jon Andersons voice and typical Jon Anderson vocal melodies. Even adore Rick Wakeman! He does just fine, and Yes are moving and grooving in ballad stylee in the face of a Punk onslaught and a massive backlash towards Prog acts in general. Says something, doesn't it? 'Going For The One' was a big selling album. Says something, doesn't it? 'Wonderous Stories' was even a hit single! Jesus, it's only four minutes long, too! Jon Anderson puts in all those pop melodies, the guy liked pop music. Rick Wakeman does the happy little keyboard thing. Everything is so happy, and i'm glad to be alive to listen to this. Ah, don't much care for 'Parallels' which is Yes by numbers. Rick does a church organ thing which is very interesting, though. Chris Squire does especially well with the funky melodic bass line. So, still good then? Oh, yeah, but i'm being relative. I relatively don't care for this compared to Yes of the past. The closing 'Awaken' is fifteen minutes long, almost as if it was 1972 again - and closes a Yes album that is easily satisfying. Out of time, out of fashion? Yet still good enough to hold a massive fanbase in raptures. Things wouldn't always be this good, suffice to say.

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    Coconut New York
    To me, this ends Yes' classic era. It is my favorite album of them mainly because of Awaken. Awaken is the greatest Yes song ever. 10/10

    Peter Thompson Ottawa, Canada
    I feel compelled to write in here and weigh in on this disc. I'm slowly but surey purchasing each Yes disc from the early era and so far, this one and Closer to the Edge are my favourites.Before Yes fans dismiss this, this disc is the easiest to get into for music fans looking for another great band fromt he 70s to dig into. I own every single piece of work Genesis ever did and wanted to try to branch out a bit.Going for the One takes NO time to get into. The title song is snappy, has a cool chorus, Turn of the Century is decent, but it's Parallels that absolutely rocks. Wakeman did his best work on this IMO, the song is awesome, but without Wakeman's pipe organs it wouldn't have been anywhere near as good.Wonderous Stories is a sweet, well written and well performed song as well. Awaken is amazing! Howe, Wakeman and Anderson are pretty much the only guys I know by name (Squire as well I guess) and they rock really, really hard on this disc.I recomme! nd it highly!9/10

    Tom New Bern, NC
    The reviewer from New York makes an interesting comment about this album being the end of Yes' classic era. I tend to agree, even though a lot great material was still to come, here and there. Anyway, Going for the One is extraordinary. Compared to Relayer (which I also love) and perhaps some of their other albums, the music is exceptionally beautiful and lyrical; a "pretty" album, in a way, but not lacking depth. The performance and recording is great as well. Inspired and superb, certainly one of their very best. Tormato had a tough job, trying to be the followup to this album.

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    Tormato( 1978, UK pos 8 )
    Future Times - Rejoice / Don't Kill The Whale / Madrigal / Release Release / Arriving UFO / Circus Of Heaven / Onward / On The Silent Wings Of Freedom

    The dog ate their homework, the producer wasn't much cop - and the excuses don't end there. According to Jon Anderson, he "took a step back and let the other guys do their stuff" - which is akin to saying, "hey, it wasn't MY fault!", but really, they all shoulder the blame for an album that lacks direction. Okay, so the songs are still mostly pretty good and there are some nice moments here and there, but the whole is weaker than previous Yes albums. Released right in the middle of Punk Rock, Yes turn out a set of songs shorter than previous songs. Two songs top six minutes ( the first and last ) but nothing here really stretches out, or stretches Yes, for that matter. Yes seem to be on auto-pilot, but Yes on auto-pilot is still pretty good, you know? The same line-up that recorded 'Going For The One' are all present and correct, and that's something in itself. The same line-up two albums running? Well, er, Yes! So, 'Future Times - Rejoice' gets us started in familiar Yes fashion, with typical Jon Anderson vocals and lyrics and a nice rhythm even if Steve Howe suddenly seems to have little to do. Rick Wakeman has plenty to do, his parts are everywhere, but these are good parts, great keyboard parts full of melody. The 'Rejoice' part of 'Future Times - Rejoice' is very pleasing and everything is set up nicely, especially for an album for which sleeve designers Hipgnosis saw fit to literally throw a tomato at an uninspired sleeve idea and call it quits. Roger Dean would be back for the next album, after that, things go all eighties - but i'm getting ahead of myself. 'Don't Kill The Whale' was a minor hit and it's a nice pop song, but don't you get the impression that Yes have retreated somewhat? A nice pop song? Was 'Close To The Edge' full of nice pop songs?? Well, no, Yes were doing something else then, something fairly unique. 'Tormato' is just an album. A good album, but just an album. It's not important and doesn't really mean anything.

    Steve Howe does a few nice parts through 'Don't Kill The Whale', Rick and Jon dominate the very nice and sweet 'Madigral' and 'Release Release' is pretty damn funky for my money. So, 'Tormato' is actually quite solid then? Well, yeah, it is. 'Release Release' even has a punky atmosphere with the guitars and a pretty damn good Jon Anderson vocal to boot. 'Arriving UFO' just about tops six minutes actually, in addition to the opening and closing songs. An experimental kind of song, experimental for 'Tormato' at least. Some interesting noises and melodic ideas even if the whole doesn't really amount to very much. 'Circus Of Heaven' sees Chris Squire do some vaguely reggae sounds with his bass and the whole song seems full of sunshine and beaches - very lightweight, actually. Not terrible, it's certainly listenable, but this is a huge step down from peak Yes form. The closing, terribly titled 'On The Silent Wings Of Freedom' starts out as another nod to Punk, although being a song featuring virtuoso playing and plenty of prog keyboards, not really very punk, after all. 'Onward' is quite nice, and something nice plus different. Minimalist for Yes, a simple bass line, a very beautiful Jon Anderson vocal, a Jon Anderson in ballad mode and singing well enough to bring a tear to your eye. It doesn't sound like Yes of the early Seventies, but it does sound good, it sounds modern. Practically nothing else here sounds modern at all. Still, I really love 'Onward'. God, I really love Yes. I give Yes five out of five, you know? I give 'Tormato' a respectable 7½ out of 10, even though every single member of Yes are kind of apologetic about the whole thing and will tell you, "oh, 'tormato' really wasn't very good". Well, it is good. It's not great, by any stretch, but good? Oh for sure, yeah, it is.

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    Tim Brisbane, Australia
    Thank you for your fair review. I've always thought Tormato has an undeservedly bad reputation. Sure, its' not CTTE or Relayer, but there is some good stuff on here, and it still has that classic 70's Yes sound. Don't Kill the Whale and Release Release are both gems and Future Times/Rejoice is solid. If you really like Yes, this is another solid addtion to your collection.

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    Drama 8 ( 1980, UK pos 2 )
    Machine Messiah / White Car / Does It Really Happen / Into The Lens / Run Through The Light / Tempus Fugit

    Ok, so Rick Wakeman left for the second time - but that was no major problem, he'd left before and they managed fine. No, the real scary thing that happened after 'Tormato' was the fact that Jon Anderson left. Now, it's hard to even begin to imagine Yes without Jon Anderson, although in later years, it would happen again for a little while. So, what does Chris Squire and company do? Why, hire The Buggles to replace Jon and Rick. Oh, but of course! Chris apparently felt that Trevor Horn's voice sounded a little like Jon. Keyboard player Geoff Downes was no problem integrating into Yes but Trevor Horn had a far tougher task stepping into the distinctive shoes of Jon Anderson. It helped that Mr Horn had been a huge Yes fan in the past, he was very familiar with Yes music and what was required. The real reason however for Chris Squire almost forcing Yes into continuing, when perhaps any less dedicated man would have decided that enough was enough, was the fact that they already had a sold out tour of the US booked. The tour wasn't going to be an easy thing to back out of, band members leaving or no band members leaving. 'Drama' was therefore recorded relatively briskly and the band set touring the US without bothering to even tell their fans that, by the way, they had a new keyboard player and singer! The first many fans knew about it was when Yes took to the stage with a strange nervous looking fellow wearing glasses ( Trevor Horn ) stood where Jon Anderson should be. Having to sing the songs in the high registers Jon usually sang them in shot Trevor Horns voice to pieces - and it wasn't something he ever wanted to repeat, and he didn't. 

    The opening 'Machine Messiah' sounds like Jon Anderson singing, it doesn't sound like The Buggles in any way, shape or form. Steve Howe is on fire with the guitar parts, doing his very best to ensure that Yes delivered a quality recording. And, for ten minutes and twenty five seconds, Yes do exactly that. Trevor Horn really does nail the vocal, sounding so much like Jon Anderson that it may as well have been Jon Anderson, for all the difference it made. 'Drama' hangs around a few major compositions surrounding filler such as the brief, inconsequential 'White Car'. 'Does It Really Happen' can be classified as a decent Yes composition, 'Run Through The Light' showcases Trevor Horns production input well, although isn't much of a song. The closing 'Tempus Fugit' is very Yes sounding with a glorious guitar and keyboard led introduction, followed by some really fine rhythm section interplay.  So, 'Drama'? An album that fails almost completely to integrate The Buggles into the Yes sound and formula, rather has the two members of The Buggles acting and pretending to be the departed members, as good as. Well, this is true of virtually every song here, apart from 'White Car' and 'Into The Lens'. It's a shame more time couldn't have been spent writing and preparing material for 'Drama', as a few more songs like 'Into The Lens' would really have hailed a new exciting era for the group, rather than glancing backwards, something Yes never used to do during their classic years. Still, yeah, 'Into The Lens' features Chris Squire and Steve Howe playing Yes parts in a Buggles song, in effect. Listen to the second Buggles album, 'Adventures In Modern Recording' for The Buggles own version of this song, but for now - we've got a glorious mix of catchy Buggles pop and Yes virtuoso playing. It works very, very well. 'Drama' works very well, although surely doesn't quite compare with the likes of 'Close To The Edge' or 'Fragile'.

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    Neil Eddy se5a@iprimus.com.au
    I think Drama is a great album but I don't neccessarily classify it as a Yes album at all - Nor is it a Buggles album either. The combination of the elements of Yes and The Buggles create a sound that is unique in terms of Yes albums and therefore can maybe classified as a different entity really. Drama has some absolutely killer work on it - "Into the Lens", "Machine Messiah" and even "Man In A White Car" break new ground for the band. What Horne and Downes did for the band was essentially to modernise it - briefly - both in terms of its sound and its lyrical content. One of the sad things about "Tormato" and even "Going For The One" was the growing use of the tried and true 'Yes formula' which, on both of those albums (far more on Tormato), was becoming quite tired and was pointing ominously at some of the messes that were to follow later. Yes over the years really failed to progress as a band in many ways (I don't really consider the Trevor Rabin years a progr! ession either) and Drama showed a possible alternate world they may have inhabited. Tempus Fugit...

    DAngelus leather-shorts@live.com
    Actually, "Drama" was supposed to be the name of the band; the record company persuaded them to release it as a "Yes" album. Oddly, the first album of theirs I ever owned, and still a delight; I love "Tempus Fugit" so much.

    John Co Kildare, Ireland
    Having finally succumbed to the charms of Yes during a glorious summer, this is strangely enough the album I keep turning to when summoned by the call of the wild, not too strange I suppose, considering that "Slow Train Coming" always holds a soft spot for me within the Dylan catalogue. Anyway, whatever people think about Trevor and Geoff, I believe they did a mighty fine job here, and really helped to re-invigorate Chris, Steve and Alan. "I Am A Camera" (or whatever it's called) has one of the most alluring wailing lead guitar performances I have ever heard, and is impossible to resist, for me, the album's highlight. "Machine Messiah" runs it a close second. A highly honourable album. 8.5/10

    Gary Pelow Hawkesbury, Ont
    In 1980 I was pursuaded (reluctantly) to go to the new lineup of Yes concert in Toronto. I was afraid of what The Buggles would do to one of my fav bands. I was pleasantly surprised with the show. I picked up Drama shortly after the show and enjoyed it far more than Tormato. Machine Messiah and Tempus Fugit are worth the price of the whole album & would improve Big Generator, Union, Talk and the aforementioned Tormato. Does It Really Happen is a solid song. Into The Lens (for sure) and Run to The Light have a Buggles taste to them but not as pure pop as one might expect. White Car is 1 1/2 minute tune that was inserted for some unknown reason.This album was very much slammed by critics but people should consider a little differently. The beginning of this album was Trevor Horn and Geoff Downes approaching Yes with a song (I think it was Into The Lens) for them to record. Suppose Chris Squire didn't want anything to do with it but Steve Howe and Alan White did. Trevor Horn while not Chris Squire is a good bass player and with a few exceptions on this album would adequately fill in. Howe, White and Downes add more vocals and the record is not significantly altered. Now without Squire the name Yes cannot be used so it gets released as a Buggles album with two guests. How would critics react to The Buggles venturing into Prog-Rock from pop? They couldn't fault them for seeking the talents of Howe and White for such a venture! This album under The Buggles name would be much better received by critics. Why can they not just take it at face value?

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    90125 7 ( 1983, UK pos 16 )
    Owner Of A Lonely Heart / Hold On / It Can Happen / Changes / Cinema / Leave It / Our Song / City Of Love / Hearts

    Things got rather strange in Yes land. Steve Howe left. Trevor Horn and Geoff Downes left. Leaving no Yes, but just Chris Squire and Alan White, the drummer. No band at all, in fact!! There was a move to get Jimmy Page and Robert Plant, of the then recently deceased Led Zeppelin to team up with Alan White and Chris Squire. A new band to be called 'XYZ', ex-yes, ex-zeppelin. Clever, huh?? Robert Plant wasn't really into it though, and bar a few rehearsals, nothing came of it. So, enter a Mr Trevor Rabin. Guitar player, keyboard player, singer and songwriter. A new idea, a band called Cinema, to feature Alan White, Chris Squire and Trevor Rabin..... Enter Trevor Horn on production dutires. Enter ex-yes keyboard man Tony Kaye.... you see what's happening here?? The record company decided that Trevor Rabin wasn't a strong enough front-man. So, in an entirely unexpected twist, re-enter Jon Anderson, five sixths of the way through the recording of the album, and Yes are re-born. Only they aren't - nearly all of the songs were Trevor Rabin songs, the sound and vision is his. The guitar playing of Steve Howe ( then in superground Asia ) is deeply missed. But, there no two ways about it, Trevor Horn did a fabulous production job - 'Owner Of A Lonely Heart' was a huge hit single, and Yes really WERE re-born! The production values are very eighties, although for 'Owner Of A Lonely Heart' for example, pretty cutting edge for the time. The sound of this album is not a Yes sound, but Jon Anderson does sing in places - and that reminds you of Yes, even if nothing else does.

    'Owner Of A Lonely Heart' is a great pop song, one of the finest of the decade, and won Yes a whole new audience. Elsewhere, things are less great. Lots of four or five minute, mid-tempo songs with semi hard rock guitar. Songs lacking character, although beautifully professional, and very well produced. The lyrics are toss. Some might say Jon Andersons lyrics were hardly great - but at least they raised a smile! These are non-descript. Still, the production continues to be fabulous throughout. Trevor Horn rescued this album. He played a big part in it. The song 'Cinema', the name of the band that nearly were, a two minute instrumental - is full of Chris Squire and Alan White more than any of the other computer programmed songs that are here. It sounds more like Yes, as a result. 'Leave It' is a great vocal showcase, plugging into Yes of the past whilst still sounding like the then new Yes of the present. 'Leave It' is a grand thing and one of the best tracks here. But then, 'Our Song', 'City Of Love'? These aren't Yes songs, they aren't good songs. The production is all that's here - Trevor Rabin wasn't a great song-writer and 'Owner Of A Lonely Heart' was a fluke. Well, that's just my opinion, of course. Trevor Rabin was incredibly talented - and Yes became a vehicle for him. He got heard, he wouldn't have done so otherwise. Well, don't you think? The closing 'Hearts' is a pleasing seven/eight minute long piece - and the kind of thing that i'd want a band calling themselves Yes doing. Not to get stuck in the mud, or anything. It sounds little, very little, like Yes of the past. But, there are vocal workouts. There is good structure and plenty of ideas. Still, all in all, 90125 is a rather compromised event, for me. It's a sell-out - but, the fact that's it's actually pretty good, is almost enough to compensate.

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    CapnMarvel capnrhino@yahoo.com
    I believe this album is woefully underrated. No other prog band was able to make anywhere near this graceful of a transition to the 1980's. 90125 is really great stuff, and I think it's Yes enough for me.

    Jeremy Donaldson wonder_warriors@hotmail.co.uk
    This is an awful album. It is not only full of bad poppy songs but it also lacks any of the bands brilliant trademark playing skills. It also destroy's Yes's reputation as a prog rock band. Owner of a lonely heart is woeful

    Todd Meyers toddmeyers@hotmail.com
    I think Yes fans' acceptance of 90125 has a lot to do with their prior exposure to Yes's music. For many of us growing up in the 1980s, this was the first we'd heard. I remember wearing out several cassette copies of 90125 while mowing lawns in the summer of 1981 when I was eleven. In truth, Owner of a Lonely Heart is my least-favorite track on the album, although it is a fantastic pop song. The thing that really appealed to me at the time was the incredible production. That element had me buying into Big Generator and finally hopping off at Union. Disappointed with future prospects, I began delving into the older albums and discovered greatness. But I still consider 90125 to be at least the equal of any other works in the Yes pantheon. Much of the album is an incredible balancing act of restraint and fury, and that is most apparent on Hold On. The tempo is held in check to such a degree that it leaves it up to Squire and White to supply the energy through sheer bru! te force, which they do. Can you tell I love this album? I only wish they would perform something from this album other than Owner of a Lonely Heart on tour.

    Richard S rdsieben@efirehose.net
    Some of the vocals on 90125 doesn't sound like Jon at all. Who did the other vocals? Was it Trevor Rabin? BTW Trevor did an excellent job for the musical score "Flyboys"

    Bob S NYC
    I'm a big fan of the Yes "classic" lineup, especially Steve Howe. As a (very amateur) guitar player, I am influenced by Steve Howe. It's hard not to be. But coming of age in the 80s, it was '90125' that was my first exposure to Yes. And the album still holds up well after 25 years. This is a great guitar album, even sans Howe. Rabin really gave the other guys a creative shot in the arm. It doesn't have the extended jams or song suites of the most groundbreaking Yes works. But the musical times were changing. And Yes is, after all, a "progressive" rock band. There are just some fantastic musical moments throughout. "Owner of a Lonely Heart" may indeed be the weakest track musically. But the rhythm work of Squire and White is superb on tracks like "Hold On"; "It Can Happen"; "Cinema"; "Our Song"; and "Hearts." Rabin's guitar playing is brilliant at times - technical and melodic, like in "Changes." Some Yes fans will undoubtedly stand by the band's early material.! But for some of us there's a place for the virtuosity displayed in all the eras of Yes.

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    Big Generator 4 ( 1987, UK pos 17 )
    Rhythm Of Love / Big Generator / Shoot High Aim Low / Almost Like Love / Love Will Find A Way / Final Eyes / I'm Running / Holy Lamb

    Trevor Rabin reveals once and for all that 'Owner Of A Lonely Heart' and the likes of the entertaining enough 'Leave It' were flukes and that actually, he couldn't write a decent song to save his entire life. '90125' had been a big hit album, sending Yes into the 80s well and truly, although not exactly intact. To all intents and purposes, '90125' was a Trevor Rabin solo album that Chris Squire and Alan White of Yes happened to play upon and that Jon Anderson just happened to be 'hired' for, as vocalist only, on just a few tracks. Tony Kaye, ex Yes keyboard man was hired to placate fans, Trevor Rabin and Trevor Horn played most of the backing tracks and keyboard parts themselves. If 90125 had been credited to Trevor Rabin, produced by Trevor Horn, it would have been far more an accurate a situation than to call it a Yes album. Still, alarmed as many Yes fans were, most were happy enough - because '90125' was decent 'enough' and did spark a commercial revival for Yes and did mean that Yes survived as an on-going entity. Steve Howe or Rick Wakeman may not have been present and the former spirit of Yes music, may have been entirely absent, but at least it was a version of Yes, even if not a definitive version! As for 'Big Generator' released some years later, Trevor Horn bailed out after most of the basic backing tracks were complete, due to arguments with Jon Anderson. Jon wanted more of a creative role for this album, wanted to get back that spirit present in classic Yes music. Trevor Rabin, the man who had written the hit 'Owner Of A Lonely Heart', wanted to swamp Yes music in semi heavy-metal guitar licks. As if that was the way to replace Steve Howe and Rick Wakeman. And, we musn't forget, Trevor was trying to do exactly that! He played all the guitar and keyboards, more or less, after all!

    To be fair to Trevor, he only did all of the things he did, because nobody else in the band gave a flying f**k. Well, Jon did, but Jon couldn't wrestle control away from Trevor. Trevor had Chris Squire on his side, who after Trevor had helped sell loads of records with '90125', knew what side his bread was buttered on. Or so he thought at the time. He may have been right. 'Big Generator' sold a couple of million, the first album proper Yes made without Trevor, 'Open Your Eyes' released in 1996, sold only a couple hundred thousand. Oh, there were other reasons for that. Yes history is complicated enough to forget just looking at sales figures. I've just realised. I was about to end this review and I haven't spoken about any of the actual songs and performances. Well, good musicians don't become bad ones overnight, and Jon Anderson didn't become a bad vocalist. There are some nice songs here. 'Shoot High, Aim Love', 'Rhythm Of Love'. The closing, Jon Anderson written 'Holy Lamb' is a piece of dung, very airy and light and unsubstantial.... but, even this piece of fluff sounds more like Yes than the Trevor Rabin songs do. Even though it's a worse song than many of his!

    I've nothing against Trevor Rabin. He was a supremely talented guitarist, keyboard player and arranger. He wrote 'Owner Of A Lonely Heart', had talent. But, he wasn't 'Yes'. He was in Yes longer than the likes of Bill Bruford, etc, etc. In the group for years and years - but it was a different Yes. Following this album, Jon Anderson would leave the group, teaming up with, of all people, Rick Wakemen, Steve Howe and that man Bill Bruford for a collaborative album. That album went down well with the critics. The 'official' Trevor Rabin and Chris Squire Yes sued. The ultimate result was that both versions got together for an album called 'Union'.

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    Rick Brown wbrown@eds.com
    I agree that Trevor Rabin had lost most of his song-writing ability by Yes. Check out his first solo album for some great songs.

    steve cashmore stevecashmore@fsmail.net
    I think your album review of Big generator is absolute nonsense. Apart from agreeing to Holy Lamb or Holy Calf or whatever being dung and Shoot High Aim Low being great your review of the album is sadly lacking. I wonder if you've actually heard it, you mention so few tracks. There are some astonishing tracks here like Final Eyes, I'm Running, The Rhythm Of Love, Love Will Find A Way...all of these brilliant songs. OK so there was no hit single this time round but this album which fused the pop-metal direction of Rabin with the classic Yes adventure of Anderson is a triumph! 4 out of 10 is sacrilege, you should stop being coloured by your Rabinist prejudice put the album on and let the music take you away. As for giving Fragile 10 out of 10...for goodness sake half the album's taken up with pointless (crap) solo spots, only Heart Of The Sunrise approaches anything like classic Yes.

    justin krazydrumz63@hotmail.com
    It is ridiculus that you think Big Gen. is a 4 when you've given higher ratings to more questionable albums in my opinion. Big Generator, though not as complex, is an exibit of thier great songwriting capabilities, which are sometimes drowned in technicality. o, and Perpetual Change, Hold On, and Changes are great songs man. I think you might have some bias between the members. Re-listen 2 some on 90125 an BigGen because I question your rating scale!

    bassplayeredd eddie123zeppelin@hotmail.com
    steve cashmore , just because half the songs on Fragile are solo spots doesn't mean half the album is made up of solo comps. The combined length of the 5 solo songs is only about 10 mins and "The Fish" and "mood for a day" which are the only 2 to pass the 2 min mark are both really good. The main attractions are the 3 longer songs and they don't disapoint.

    Edwin mulroz123@cs.com
    Big Generator is quite over-produced. Jon and Trevor actually took a year to destroy a not too bad album to a monster. In the mean time momentum of the 90125 succes was lost. There is a bootleg available with earlier mixes (Alternate Generator). Try to find it, it sounds great, even better than 90125.

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    Union 5 ( 1991, UK pos 7 )
    I Would Have Waited Forever / Shock To The System / Masquerade / Lift Me Up / Without Hope You Cannot Start / Saving My Heart / Miracle Of Life / Silent Talking / The More We Live / Angklor Wat / Dangerous / Holding On / Evensong / Take The Water To The Mountain

    One of the highlights of this otherwise largely unengaging album project consists of the brief interlude linking tracks. 'Evensong' is the shortest running to just fifty one seconds, an atmospheric little instrumental that although inconsequential, is pretty all the same. 'Masquerade' is a little medieval Steve Howe guitar instrumental. It has a touch of class absent from most other tracks on the album. All in all, nine of the fourteen songs on the album have their origins in the Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman and Howe line-up that abandoned plans to release a second album under their own surnames for this merging with the Squire/Rabin version of Yes. In truth this merger was by means of neccessity, record company interference, the chance to do a major world tour, etc, etc. The album itself was soon forgotten and is generally regarded as one of the weakest releases Yes ever put out. Personally, I wouldn't go that far. True, 'Union' doesn't hold together brilliantly as a cohesive album listening experience and true, too many of the tracks don't seem to actually go anywhere. Rather than describe this album as actively bad however, i'd simply describe it as rather dull. In terms of production, the Rabin penned 'Lift Me Up' is quite striking and lively, leaping out of the speakers in a terribly AOR late eighties kind of way. I do like the opening song a lot, quite probably my favourite actual song here, it manages to sound modern in production terms without losing all sense of the usual Yes harmonic and melodic invention. 'Miracle Of Life' is also enjoyable, a modern production that has a strong sense of pop song-structure and catchy musical and vocal hooks, both.

    Searching for highlights other than the ones I've already mentioned proved fruitless for me. Too many tracks are four/five/six minutes in length, include much semi-heavy guitar riffing presumably from Mr Rabin, many atmospheric keyboard washes that act merely as padding, little sense of proper song development or structure and as a result, don't tend to invite a listener towards too many repeat hearings. The playing itself across the albums fourteen tracks is accomplished and professional, but with musicians of this calibre, we'd expect that. No, the disappointing this is how unimaginative much of the playing is. We've got Bill Bruford back on board the Yes wagon, for example. He was in a phase of utilizing those synthetic 80s drum pads, ok. Fair enough. Yet, we don't get to hear any truly memorable moments from him. Steve Howe is largely redundant bar his instrumental, 'Masquerade' in terms of his usual distinctive and/or inventive approach. Jon Anderson sings very well throughout the album, I'll give him that. And at the end of all the goings on behind the scenes of 'Union', Chris Squire retained rights to the name 'Yes', with Bruford, Howe, Wakeman and Anderson going their seperate ways once more. Well, for the time being at least.

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    Neil Eddy steed_and_peel@iprimus.com.au
    Of the Yes albums I've ever heard this had to be the worst - even worse than the herniated "Tormato" (bleech!). The production on Union is dense with much detail seemingly lost back in the mix. But the worst part of this rather silly exercise is listening to just how stagnant this group of rather insular musicians had become. There are very few new ideas on this album, the lyrics suck, - and you can almost hear the friction..... I remember seeing live footage of them from this time... talk about no interaction on stage between the competing factions... it was very very sad to see. I think I'll just hold my memories of the 'classic Yes line-up' as ending post Topographic Oceans with a nod towards Relayer and Drama, thank you very much! :-) Regards Neil

    DAngelus leather-shorts@live.com
    Spectacularly bad…and yet "I Would Have Waited Forever" is a classic of the first water. Perhaps the most striking example I know of *one* good song on an album of drek. The pared-down "Re:Union" version at least spares us some of the chaff.

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    Talk 6 ( 1994, UK pos 20 )
    The Calling / I Am Waiting / Real Love / State Of Play / Walls / Where Will You Be / Endless Dream

    Jon Anderson - Vocals, Chris Squire - Bass, Vocals, Trevor Rabin - Producer, Guitar, Vocals (Background), Mixing, Keyboards, Engineer, String Arrangements, Tony Kaye - Hammond organ, Alan White - Drums, Percussion. Trevor Rabin's swan-song with Yes, 'Talk' seems to be an attempt by Trevor in part to win over the old Yes audience. Let's see from the credits above, though. Tony Kaye played very little on the album, Rabin played the majority of the keyboard parts. Chris Squire had bass parts overdubbed by Rabin. Rabin has a hand in writing or co-writing every single track. With '90125' Yes created a new sound for themselves, Trevor Rabin of course played a big part in that. So did Trevor Horn, but that's another story. So, is 'Talk' really a Yes album at all? Well, if we consider any of the Rabin Yes albums to be Yes, then so is this. It's actually closer to 70s Yes than anything they'd produced since 'Drama'. We've a digitally precise clean and souless sound and the album suffers badly from this. Middle of the road, safe pop/rock anthemns that never did get played much on the radio, as the albums UK 20 and US 33 chart peaks will testify to. Anyway, we're plunged right into 'The Calling' to kick off the album, big booming percussive sounds, a playing it safe guitar riff and Jon Anderson trying his best, bless him. The song never quite seems to decide whether it's a rocker or a pop tune and falls through the whole in the middle, although the pop tune side wins the day in the end. Hence, 'The Calling' arises, head above water and proclaiming, 'there, I survived'. There is a genuinely cool nifty little instrumental sequence in the middle of the track and Tony Kaye actually gets to play some of his hammond organ, which is a delightful link to the old Yes sound. So, after the six minute 'The Calling' we get the seven minute 'I Am Waiting' and isn't it clear what the problem is, right there? Well, lengthy song-lengths needn't be a problem, clearly. This IS Yes, after all. But, none of the songs here, even the attempted prog style closer 'Endless Dream' seems to demand to be as long as they are. 'I Am Waiting' for example has some very nice moments and some nifty heavy metal guitar parts from Rabin, yet again, it seems to be trying to pack too many showy and empty ideas into the piece. Where's the heart and soul?

    Bar the closing epic, 'Endless Dream', the opening two tunes are actually the best here. 'Real Love' is truly dreadful, for example. It doesn't do anything, it doesn't go anywhere and at this stage if you're listening to the album from start to finish, you're 22 minutes into the album and only three songs down. Twenty two minutes that could easily have been condensed into thirteen minutes, without losing an ounce. You've lost the will to live? So have I. Well, people say 'Tales From Topographic Oceans' contains a lot of padding, yet I find the padding on that album working as beautiful, or at least, genuinely atmospheric, padding. During 'Talk', the padding just sounds like excuses for Trevor Rabin to wind up his guitar to eleven and try to prove himself. What's that chip on your shoulder for, Trevor? Although Trevor collaborated quite well with Anderson for a good half of this album, his sound wins, at the end of the day. Jon Anderson is mostly relegated to providing lyrics for somebody elses tunes, although yes, does get a few ideas here and there taken up by Rabin. Most obviously during the closer, 'Endless Dream'. A three part composition, the middle section is twelve minutes long and hangs together very loosely. There are some genuinely great instrumental moments, but doesn't even seem to pretend to be an actual, cohesive song. In terms of structure, it's all over the place. The two brief sections that surround the meat of the sandwich are my favourite moments here, the 'Silent Spring' instrumental is lovely atmosphere, and the closing two minute section of 'Endless Dream' seems to close the album on an optimistic, uplifting note. 'Talk'? It's an album of moments. Pick your favourite three tracks from it and keep them. Throw the rest of the album in the bin? No, not that bad. Just keep them for a rainy day when you feel like a slice of nostalgia and/or completism.

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    Keys To Ascension( 1996 )
    Siberian Khatru [Live] / The Revealing Science of God [Live] / America [Live] / Onward [Live] / Awaken [Live] / Roundabout [Live] / Starship Trooper [Live] / Be the One / That, That Is 19:14

    The almost classic Yes lineup reunite for the first time in nearly decades for an almost new album! It gets much more exciting than this, but Yes fans were still pretty expectant at the time. Two brand new songs. Lots of live classics played by men now older than they were when they were still relevant in any way whatsoever. Rick Wakeman! Chris Squire, Jon Anderson. Erm, Alan White. Bill Bruford? Sadly not and his absence is felt. Alan is a fine drummer but he just hits the drums differently. Bill always sounded like he was attacking the drums by beating them into some other ( jazz ) shape and made the songs a lot more interesting. Alan is too straight rock music at times. Otherwise, Yes sound remarkably unaffected by age or changing events in the world. Well, for the live tracks at least. ‘Roundabout’ and ‘Starship Trooper’ are just two of the favourites here and both are impeccably played. ‘Be The One’ is a lengthy ( surprise! ) and largely tuneless non-event. Jon writes a love song for 80s radio and as well as lacking a tune it lacks distinction. It sounds no better ( possibly even worse ) than the worst non-classic line-ups Yes inflicted upon us during the entire nineteen eighties. Oh, 'Revealing Science Of God' gets a big cheer from about the four people nearest the stage! That old out of time classic from the topographical oceans album. Did Rick eat another vindaloo? Probably not, but this track remains an implausibly thrilling thing in places.

    Another new song? Well, why not. 'That, That Is' is almost as long as 'Revealing Science Of God', which is saying a lot. Still, lovely ambient introduction with plenty of delicate and impressive Steve Howe acoustic work. While i'm waiting for something to happen though, i'm selling my top goal-scorer in football manager 2007 because even though i'm Liverpool, i'm a bit of a spendthrift and i'm broke. Oh, drums and chanting arrive four minutes in. Hey, good drums! Pound away my man, pound away. Bam, bam, bam. What is this chanting though? Makes 'Topographical Oceans' appear sensible. Hey, groovy Chris Squire bass guitar. This is a lovely little Yes moment. Oh god, Jon is singing nonsense again. Hang on..... back to Football Manager 2007 again for a moment. I'll be back to Yes when something else happens. Well, something unfortunate has happened. I'm speaking a few seconds later now, you understand. Where's Eddie Offord when you need him, this mix is a mess. Very mushy and compressed. I want to hear every detail, dammit. Where's my copy of 'Relayer'? Nearly nine minutes into the track now. Is Rick asleep at his keyboards? Oh, here's a brief Rick flourish. Nice moment twelve minutes in too as the song briefly threatens to not be boring. More drums, more minutes. An almost exciting rock instrumental section, but it appears utterly divorced from the rest of the track when it arrives some seventeen minutes in. We know you guys can still play, but can you still write songs? Dick Kuyt has now been sold. It appears Yes have forgotten how to write songs. Six and a half out of ten.

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    Edwin mulroz123@cs.com
    Do as I did, buy the dvd and the cd "Studio keys" and you get a very entertaining dvd and a complete (but certainly not their best although it contains Minddrive) Yes studio album

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    Keys To Ascension II 7 ( 1997 )
    I've Seen All Good People / Going for the One / Time and a Word / Close to the Edge / Turn of the Century / And You and I / Mind Drive / Foot Prints / Bring Me the Power / Children of Light / Sign Language

    This one came about in a rather strange fashion. Yes had placed most of the fan-favourite concert pleasers on the first volume. This volume came about as something of a compromise but did arrive with another forty-five minutes of brand new Yes studio music as a considerable bonus for Yes fans. We'll focus on the live cuts first of all though. Weirdly enough, as these are generally not the usual suspects, I find this selection far more enjoyable than volume one. It's always a delight to listen to 'Going For The One' and it's also a pleasant surprise to hear the guys play it so well all these years later. Jon Anderson's vocals for example sound exactly the same as they did back in the Seventies! With my critical ear, I would suggest however that whoever mixed these selection of live tracks got the drums slightly too loud and Jon slightly too quiet in the overall mix. Maybe that's just my personal preference, though.

    One particular favourite of anybody who has ever listened to Yes arrives after a rather lack-lustre take on 'Time And A Word', the title track from an album Yes released way back in 1969. So, Yes in the nineties play 'Close To The Edge', all twenty or so minutes of it. It remains the best thing the band ever created and it's fascinating to hear a live rendition in this context. Alan White copes manfully with the drum parts, originally laid down by drumming legend Bill Bruford, of course. Chris Squire and Steve Howe tinkle away as usual but really, Alan White absolutely shines on this. Let's hope Jon Anderson with Squire and Howe on harmony vocals can do the vocal side justice..... My, that they can! Few bands could even conceive of a piece as joyous, artistic and complex as 'Close To The Edge', yet alone perform it so well some twenty plus years after it was first released. In a way, Yes had no contemporaries. Sure, The Who tried rock opera and sure Genesis did a fine job with a few of their albums in the Seventies, but nobody could touch what Yes did when they were at their best. Still, let's move onto the studio tracks, i've been told 'Mind Drive' is quite good. Indeed, at the time of release Yes fans were hailing it as the finest work the band had done since those heady days of the Seventies.

    'Mind Drive' has a satisfying enough opening theme and some nice Jon Anderson vocal melodies. It's a multi-part, twenty minute long composition in which all the musicians are allowed chance to shine, eg, Steve Howe's lovely acoustic prettiness some eight minutes in. There are moments during 'Mind Drive' where you think, 'yeah, they've got it right' but they haven't. This is a fragmented piece that needed to hold more onto the melodic ideas of Jon Anderson. Of the other studio pieces, 'Foot Prints' is most impressive Yes music and fairly concise running to 'only' nine minutes. 'Children Of Light' is clumpen and messy whilst closer 'Sign Language' is very much a Steve Howe/Rick Wakeman duet. So, welcome developments in Yes-land? Yes, certainly. Yet, there still seems to be a lack of focus when putting together studio material. Moving back towards their classic sound is a welcome move for many, yet it needs to be married with the kind of adventure and risk taking Yes used to be famous for, rather than mere repetition of well-worn themes.

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    Open Your Eyes( 1997 )
    New State of Mind / Open Your Eyes / Universal Garden / No Way We Can Lose / Fortune Seller / Man in the Moon / Wonderlove / From the Balcony / Love Shine / Somehow, Someday / The Solution

    After the studio Keys To Ascention tracks imbued long-term Yes fans with what they saw as a justifed level of expectation after years of Rabin-led Yes, 'Open Your Eyes' was, quite simply put, a massive disappointment to them. 'Open Your Eyes' began as a Chris Squire side-project with soon to be full-time Yes member Billy Sherwood in tow. Sherwood could play the keyboards and second guitar and joined Yes as a second guitarist. Russian-born Igor Khoroshev filled in the more complicated keyboard parts, Jon Anderson was roped in/expressed an interest and another new interation of Yes was born. Steve Howe, now firmly back in the Yes ranks, ended up overdubbing many of his guitar parts after the other musicians had finished. All songs are credited to the individual band members but it stands to reason Squire/Sherwood created the bulk of the material here. Perhaps that explains why Jon Anderson's contributions seem slightly less than we might expect and Howe's distinctive guitar enriches, rather than forms the bulk of the compositions. Still, time haa been kinder to 'Open Your Eyes' than any mongrel-upbringing and upsetting of expectation levels. True, the overall sound is fairly hideously over-produced and the arrangments clumsy, but there are songs here. There are tunes and lovely touches and this should, impossible as it may sound, be judged on its own merits. Several Yes member themselves would rather write the whole affair out of history, yet does that automatically mean we should, too?

    The title track received some airplay in the US and no wonder, this is a modern sounding slice of up-tempo pop/rock with complicated musical hooks and easily to assimilate vocal hooks. True, this isn't the showing off of prime-time Yes but there are touches of Howe and Squire that particularly impress. The next best thing here is the opening track, 'New State Of Mind', classic Yes vocal harmonies, surprisingly heavy instrumental sounds and a few wonderful touches from Howe and 'Kroroshev'. Good solo from Howe during 'Universal Garden', check. Dodgy lyrics from Anderson, check. A soppy moment from Anderson during 'From The Balcony' and 'Wonderlove', check. Actually, despite a lack of any stand-outs at all after the first two tunes have passed, 'From The Balcony' provides a needed change in texture. What price a Steve Howe/Jon Anderson album?

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    Bob Zimmerman Belfast
    Adrian, great site. How about reviewing the Ladder album though? The greatest Yes album since Drama at least.

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    Fly From Here 8 ( 2011 )
    Overture / We Can Fly / Sad Night At The Airfield / Madman At The Screens / Bumpy Ride / We Can Fly (Reprise) / The Man You Always Wanted Me To Be / Life On A Film Set / Hour Of Need / Solitaire / Into The Storm

    One of the original progressive rock behemoths Yes return with a new album in rather unlikely circumstances. Founder member and lead vocalist Jon Anderson fell ill, thus was unable to fulfil touring dates. No doubt with an eye on the dollar, co-founder member, Bassist and backing vocalist Chris Squire hired a singer from a Yes tribute band he'd seen on a YouTube video, of all places. So, Benoit David steps into the daunting shoes of Jon Anderson - the previous time such an occurrence had taken place Yes hired Buggles vocalist Trevor Horn to step in. Now, this is where things get rather weird, even for a band with such a chequered history as Yes. Trevor Horn and fellow Buggle Geoff Downes had stepped into the Yes band circa 1980 to replace Jon Anderson and Rick Wakemen respectively. Both also feature here, Horn on production duties and Downes on keyboards, again stepping in for Wakemen. Well, his son this time around, which is rather curious. Indeed, even more curious are the origins of a bulk of the material on the album, namely the twenty four minute long 'Fly From Here' suite - it was originally rejected by the band back in 1980 circa the Horn/Downes/Squire/White/Howe line-up. So, suitably lengthy prog-rock troubled upbringing brought into focus, what does the resulting album actually sound like?

    Well, only four tracks appear to have been composed completely outside of the Horn/Downes axis, so hearing newly developed 31 year old material could be seen to be a little odd but once the luxurious sound comes into play and 'yes', the vocals of Benoit David we can judge 'Fly From Here' as a very nice addition to the lengthy Yes catalogue. As far as long-term Yes followers are concerned this set is also stylistically something approaching their classic 70s sound. What Jon Anderson thinks of it is anybodies guess but onto the songs themselves. 'The Overture' demonstrates how much input it's likely that producer Trevor Horn has had into the sound of this record. This is the classic sound of Yes, not updated for the modern era so much as being allowed to exist within it. The mixing is expertly done to reveal crystal clear bass and drum lines, synths soar in typically classical style yet also add an air of Hollywood sound-track. This two minute overture is a statement of intent from all involved. Sonically at least, this 'Fly From Here' album is arguably the finest they've ever sounded. Even in terms of arrangement and composition, the entire 'Fly From Here' suite is a real achievement.

    The vocals, naturally for a singer that emerged from a Yes tribute group, evoke the feel and sound of Jon Anderson. I do still miss Anderson's distinctive Lancashire accent and lyrical flights of fancy - original Yes drummer Bill Bruford once put it like this 'He spoke in strange sentences that nobody could understand'. Chris Squire and Steve Howe both have long proven they are musicians of immense performing calibre and I enjoy the way the bass richly comes through in the mix. These 'Fly From Here' songs aren't really about compositional input from either Howe or Squire, certainly the 1980 'Drama' album was creatively led by both, on the whole. So, we can't really draw any direct comparisons to 'Drama'. 'Fly From Here' seems to have less tension in the playing yet this also suits the overall warm and textured sound. True, 'Sad Night At The Airfield' does come across a little eighties to my ears, in terms of the ebb and flow of the tune, yet we are grounded by the rich sound overall. Our minds and hearts are allowed to dream and fly along with the lyrics and atmosphere - a nice piece of work then following the more typically Yes 'We Can Fly'.

    The second half of the record is more of a mixed bag, quite naturally so following a suite of songs. 'The Man You Always Wanted Me To Be' reveals more of the true voice of the new vocalist, his natural singing voice apparently deeper than Jon Anderson's - he can still do those high notes Jon does, though. So, a fairly mellow, mid-tempo sort of number yet 'The Man You Always Wanted Me To Be' is melodically strong and stirring. 'Solitaire' is a nice Steve Howe moment, the closing 'Into The Storm' a rather disappointing ending - coincidentally or not, it's the first Benoit David co-writing credit for Yes. Taking all into consideration however we can say that Yes have done a great conjurers trick with the 'Fly From Here' LP, nobody should really care about the origins of the material, just the fact they've made a pretty satisfying latter day album.

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    Heaven And Earth 7 ( 2014 )
    Believe Again / The Game / Step Beyond / To Ascend / In a World of Our Own / Light of the Ages / It Was All We Knew / Subway Walls

    Some scathing reviews from long-term fans have greeted this fairly unexpected release from Yes. Trevor Horn departs to be replaced by Queens 70s producer - and the replacement for Jon Anderson has lasted only one LP, due to his lukewarm concert abilities. Another Jon steps in to the vocal duties, Jon Davison, an American singer who sounds uncannily like Jon Anderson, only without those lovely northern england accent twists. He also doesn't quite have the same depth to his voice as Jon Anderson or weirdness to his lyrics, but hey. This new singer has written, or co-written, every single track on this album. Some long-term Yes fans have responded in a fashion that seems to me to be wiping out the mid-eighties Yes entirely, when Trevor Rabin wholly took control of both the lyrical and music direction. This Jon Davison led Yes is a far lesser transition and bear in mind the last Yes album was really a souped up follow-up to Drama from 1980 - the roots of that project hailed entirely from that era. 'Heaven And Earth' is an entirely different beast, a wholly new, albeit quiet Yes album in 2014. Such a thing in all reality really shouldn't exist. Yes fans surely used to dramatic changes in the groups line-up and sound throughout the years have been quick to utterly slate 'Heaven And Earth' - it does though come across as a tasteful and sometimes classy new Yes LP, but admittedly contains no fireworks whatsoever.

    One justified criticism of the record is the production - the sound isn't as natural as it could have been, and whether time constraints also played a part? Well, some songs sound as if the arrangements could have been worked upon a little more. Still, we open with 'Believe Again' which on the first three or four listens just sounds pleasant but not worthy or deep. Listening to it more and the entire album in fact - we kind of have an entire LP of songs that are trying to be 'Wonderful Stories' from 'Going To The One'. I see nothing wrong with that at all. Steve Howe pops up here and there with some truly Yes guitar passages, otherwise you wouldn't really get much of the supposed classic Yes sound, but it is what it is, a really nice tune. Creatively, this album is led by Jon Davison, Geoff Downes on keyboards and Steve Howe on guitar. The rhythm section, that famous Yes rhythm section, are unusually subdued throughout - perhaps a leading reason behind some Yes fans equally subued reaction to the overall project? 'The Game' sounds late eighties to my ears, yet Steve Howe creates some wonderful sounds with his guitar, and the 'ha ha heye' backing vocals are really quite addictive. 'To Ascend' is actually really pretty and lovely indeed, acoustic guitar, smooth and impressive synth lines and Jon Davison just utterly getting the point of being the frontman of Yes. Replacing Jon Anderson naturally was always going to be incredibly difficult, but christ, he even looks a bit like Jon, let alone sounding like him and writing lyrics for a song titled 'To Ascend'?

    'In A World Of Our Own' sounds like British pop group 'Madness' with added Queen guitars. It's mid-tempo, as fast as this album gets, but it's a strong pop song, not a strong prog song. but then there is very little prog going on across this LP. 'Light Of The Ages' opens with Steve Howe being Steve Howe, bald head, loads of hair down the side, often glancing at his guitar in a utterly bewildered fashion yet somehow still managing to put the Yes into Yes, whatever the iteration. Otherwise mind you, 'Light Of The Ages' is utterly dull but at least the drummer remembers he is even on the album when 'It Was All We Knew' arrives and he splatters his drums for the opening few seconds before settling into being a pop, rather than prog or rock drummer. He suits any of those roles fairly well, but Yes fans have mostly been talking about the closing 'Subway Walls'' - a nine minute prog moment on an album largely devoid of such moments. An orchestral introduction arrives courtesy of Downes one suspects, followed by a warm bass sound and a very familiar melody played by Steve Howe before he riffs a little in true Yes fashion. The lyrics for this one are truly Jon Anderson in style - I suspect if he ever does listen to the album he'll be fairly impressed. Still, for all the attempting to be prog this final song actually just sounds like the guys jamming. Well, they always did do back in the day yet, there are finer songs on this record than 'Subway Walls' - the track that arguably most meets some stylistic expectation from a listener.

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    this page last updated 01/08/15

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